An MS-13 gang member wanted for murder in El Salvador was apprehended by New York City U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents after illegally entering the U.S.

On June 20, NYC-based ICE deportation officers arrested 27-year-old Melvin Orlando Hernandez Villanueva. Authorities identified Hernandez Villanueva as a Salvadoran MS-13 gang member with an Interpol Red Notice for two counts of aggravated homicide in El Salvador. He was arrested in Queens and found in possession of marijuana and a loaded handgun.

Officials stated Hernandez Villanueva entered the U.S. illegally at an unknown time and location. “This violent criminal and MS-13 gang member erroneously thought he could escape murder charges in El Salvador by sneaking into the United States and hiding out in New York City,” said ERO New York City Field Office Director Kenneth Genalo. “We will apprehend these international fugitives and repatriate them to their countries of origin to face justice.”

Salvadoran authorities issued an arrest warrant for Hernandez Villanueva on March 28, 2019. On October 12, 2023, the FBI provided ERO New York City’s Long Island officers with information about his Interpol Red Notice.

“One cannot get away with murder, even when attempting to flee and hide in another country,” said FBI New York Field Office acting Assistant Director in Charge Christie M. Curtis. “This arrest reflects the FBI’s commitment to capturing fugitives and removing dangerous criminals from our neighborhoods.”